Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Swimming Festival, sponsored by Daman’s ActiveLife, returns on March 11 and for the first time it will take place in conjunction with the Abu Dhabi leg of the FINA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup.

The open-water, mass-participation event will be held at the Emirates Palace Bay for the fourth time and will see swimmers take to the water in the morning, before professional athletes from around the globe compete in the second event of the 2017 FINA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup Series.

The event offers a choice of disciplines for individuals, families, teams and clubs from the age of eight-plus. With the Abu Dhabi Mile and Half Mile distances, the Junior Splash Dash races of 100 metres, 300 metres and 500 metres, and the Parent & Child or Adult Relays, the event offers something for all swimming abilities, organisers say. Once the amateur races are over, participants will be able to relax on the exclusive Emirates Palace Bay beach where there will be a variety of activities and food stalls on offer, while they watch the professional swimmers compete in the tough marathon distance.

Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC), said: “The Abu Dhabi Swimming Festival is a very important event for us, as it encourages all segments of the community in Abu Dhabi to practice swimming. We at ADSC are keen to strengthen our partnerships with all bodies that organise events aiming to encourage everyone to practice sporting activities and lead healthy lifestyles.”

Almost 1,000 swimmers took part in last year’s hugely successful Abu Dhabi Swimming Festival by Daman’s ActiveLife and the 2017 ambassador, 2016 Olympic gold medallist in the women’s 100-metre butterfly, Sarah Sjostrom, said she hopes this year’s event can attract even more competitors. “I am thrilled to be the international ambassador for this established mass participation swimming event. It is great to see people of all ages in Abu Dhabi being encouraged to take part in a sport that I love and I hope we will see over 1,000 people at Emirates Palace on March 11.”

Abdullah Al Wahaibi, Vice-President of the UAE Swimming Federation, added: “We are delighted to bring the FINA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup event to the Emirates Palace Bay this year alongside the reputable Abu Dhabi Swimming Festival. It is a spectacular venue and will provide a new challenge to the athletes returning to Abu Dhabi.”

For information on how to enter Abu Dhabi Swimming Festival by Daman’s ActiveLife, visit www.swimabudhabi.com or go to Facebook or Twitter using #swimAD.